Origin of the Corvette Name

Many people know the Corvette as a motorsports icon or the ultimate Muscle/Sports car, but few know the meaning of the name. We all know that the marketing team over at Chevrolet came up with the name Camaro out of thin air. but the meaning behind Corvette goes quite a bit deeper.

Corvette was the first mass-produced post-war American sports car, but when General Motors introduced the car to the public as a prototype the production name was still undecided. Out of over 300 submissions, the name suggested by Myron E. Scott would be the winner.

Scott went to work for Chevrolet in 1937, as an assistant director for the Public Relations department, where he was responsible for photography of new cars, designing of press kits, graphics, and special events. He was also known for being the creator of the All-American Soap Box Derby.

Myron E. Scott

Myron thought the name Corvette rolled off the tongue well and thought a tie to the fast strike ships called "Corvettes" from World War II would appeal to the American men, many who had served. This would go on to form the foundation for the nautical names that would be applied to Corvettes and concepts such as the Mako Shark and Sting Ray (later to be used as Stingray).

The name Corvette was first used on ships in the 1670s by the French Navy. These small, light and fast ships would often be used as escorts for larger ships. While they generally were under 100 feet long and only had one gun deck, their maneuverability and speed gave them a unique advantage against the larger ships. Literally, a Corvette could run circles around larger ships and in the era of cannons fast moving targets were hard to hit. The British would keep Corvettes in their fleet during the colonial incursions into the rivers of the Far-East and Africa, at this point, most Corvettes were steam powered.

Canadian Royal Navy Corvette, circa WWII

The name was revived in World War II when British naval designer William Reed drafted a plan for a small escort/patrol ship. They saw much success as anti-submarine escorts in the Atlantic. Later in the war, some Corvettes would be outfitted as minesweepers and saw action in the Pacific. Corvette ships are still used today, mostly has light missile ships or support vessels for fast attack boats.